5 Symptoms of Bad Brake Pads and Discs and Replacement Cost

Last Updated on October 10, 2019 by themechanic

We all tend to take the brakes of our vehicles for granted, but they are the reason why we can slow down whenever we step on the brake pedal. If we didn’t have functional brakes, then we would end up crashing into everything on the road. Modern braking systems depend on brake pads and brake discs to function properly. These are the components which are mainly responsible for slowing the vehicle down when you step on the brake pedal. Each wheel has a brake pad and brake disc in it.

As soon as you place pressure on the brake pedal with your foot, the brake pads move closer toward the spinning brake discs near them. As they rub together and cause friction, the vehicle slows down. The more pressure you put on the brake pedal, the more friction that is created. That is why the vehicle slows down faster if you step harder on the brake pedal. But this will also wear down your brake pads and brake discs a lot faster, so it is recommended that you step slowly on the brake pedal. Obviously, if there is an emergency and you need to stop quickly, then this would be an exception to the rule.

5 Bad Symptoms

When you have bad brake pads and discs, you are certainly going to know it. Your entire ability to slow down the vehicle will be compromised whenever you have bad brake pads and discs. However, this doesn’t mean the brakes will immediately stop working. There will be some noticeable symptoms which will come first. It is recommended that you take these symptoms seriously and do something about your brake pads and discs before your brakes get worse.

Below are the top 5 symptoms of bad brake pads and discs.

1) Warning Light

Modern braking systems are equipped with electronic sensors and components. This means if there are any problems with the brakes, such as bad brake pads or discs, then a brake warning light will illuminate on the dashboard. Of course, you won’t know exactly which components of the braking system are causing problems, but you can take an educated case. The point is that you will know enough to take your vehicle to the mechanic and have them evaluate your brakes.

2) Squealing Sounds

Do you step on the brake pedal and hear strange squeaky or squealing sounds? If so, then your brake pads are the problem. Old brake pads which have been used regularly for years will start accumulating dust. As the dust grows, the brake pads become noisier as the rub against the brake disc. If the brake pads continue to wear down, then scraping sounds will be heard because the back plate of the pads will be exposed.

3) Poor Brake Response

As your brake pads and discs become more worn, it will take longer for them to respond after you step on the brake pedal. This will require you to step harder on the brake pedal just to slow down the vehicle like normal. If this problem continues like this, it will become increasingly harder to slow down the vehicle with each passing day. Don’t wait for it to get to the point where you cannot slow down the vehicle at all. You’ll be putting everyone else’s life at risk, including your own.

4) Vibrations

When you feel vibrations coming through the brake pedal as you step on it, then it means you have bad brake pads and/or discs. Usually, as brake pads and discs get used and worn out, a pulsation or vibration effect occurs in the brake pedal. You can feel this vibration more as you step harder on the brake pedal. The only way to solve this issue is to replace your brake pads and discs.

5) Brake Pedal Issues

Aside from vibrations in the brake pedal, you might actually notice some other issues with the pedal as well. One of which is a spongy or squishy feeling as you apply pressure to the brake pedal. This symptom coincides with the difficulty braking symptom because you’re forced to apply harder pressure on the brake pedal to reduce the sponginess and slow down the vehicle. This is not something you will want to tolerate for longer than you need to.

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Replacement Cost

You should replace your brake pads and discs as soon as they start giving you problems. This will prevent an unnecessary accident from occurring. The cost to replace the brake pads will be between $190 and $320. The parts cost will be anywhere from $100 to $200 while the cost of the labor will be anywhere from $90 to $120. Fees and taxes are added to the total price too. If you need to replace multiple brake pads, you might be able to get a discount from your local auto shop if you purchase more than one brake pad. Either that or they will give you reward points. Check with them to see what they offer.

As for the brake discs, the replacement cost is usually around $150 to $400. The labor costs of the replacement job will be between $75 to $150. This brings the total replacement cost to $225 and $550. If you combine this with the total amount to replace the brake pads, then you are looking at paying between $415 and $870 to replace both the brake pads and brake discs.

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